By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Alexis Lee may not have been an Olympian like three of her Stanford women's water polo teammates, including fellow senior Melissa Seidemann, but she still has two NCAA championships to her credit.
During last year's run it was players like Lee who needed to step up with the absence of Seidemann and Annika Dries and the not-yet-a-freshman Maggie Steffens for the Cardinal to successfully defend its NCAA title.
"The mindset I always have is I am here to make the team better as a whole," Lee said after scoring twice in Stanford's 8-1 victory over visiting UCLA on Saturday. "If I'm not playing much, I'm still working as hard as I can so others will have to play hard."
Her efforts eventually paid off, earning extended playing time last year and giving the second-ranked Cardinal (4-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, 23-1 overall) yet another formidable weapon as it looks to three-peat.
Top-ranked and undefeated USC handed the Cardinal its lone loss of the season. The Women of Troy also happen to be Stanford's next opponent.
"That's always a big match," Stanford goalie Kate Baldoni said. "We'll have to play some defense."
Stanford, which also got two goals each from Seidemann and Kaley Dodson in the win over the Bruins, cliched at least a second seed for the upcoming MPSF tournament, to be held in Berkeley later this month.
"UCLA had some good counter attacks and we had to get back to defend," Cardinal coach John Tanner said. "They have shooters and put a lot of pressure on us."
Stanford carried a 4-0 edge into the final period and then broke it open with three goals in the final 3:16 of the contest. Ashley Grossman and Kelsey Suggs scored the final two goals.
Baldoni, Lee, Seidemann, Jillian Garton and Victoria Kennedy were honored by the Cardinal on Senior Day.